Premiership: Edinburgh Accies stay on course for play-offs with win at GHA

Missed conversion at the death deprives hosts of losing bonus-point

Edinburgh Accies take clean line-out ball against GHA. Image: Joyce Robinson
Edinburgh Accies take clean line-out ball against GHA. Image: Joyce Robinson

GHA 20

Edinburgh Academicals 28

IAIN HAY @ Braidholm

EDINBURGH ACCIES travelled back along the M8 with a full compliment of points, tightening their grip on the final play-off spot, after overcoming second-bottom GHA in an encounter peppered with errors.

“There’s always aspects of the performance that we’ll go and scrutinise and try to get better at, but ultimately we came for five points and we’re going away five points, so we’re pretty happy,” said Accies’ forwards coach Ross Young, taking charge of the team today in Iain Berthinussen’s absence.

“We’ve not played for essentially a month, and certainly in the first half, there were pretty clear showings of ring-rust and it took us a while to get a foothold in the game but there was also some really pleasing elements in there as well once we got into it.”


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The beginning of the match serves as a perfect analogy for Young’s comments, as straight from the kick-off, Accies No 8 Ruairi Campbell spilled the ball, but then went on to be one of the top performers in the match.

GHA dominated territory in the opening stages and deservedly took the lead from debutant hooker Archie Falconer crossing from the maul after an impressive Andrew Goudie 50-22 kick had given the hosts the throw.

As Accies grew into the match their back-play looked to be a bit more precise and well-drilled than their opponents, although centre Robbie Kent had a heart-in-mouth moment as his pass was nearly picked off by Benoit Jouary.

Had the Frenchman been able to hold on he could well have been away, but shortly after this, Kent put foot to gas and went over the try-line in centre field leaving Jamie Loomes with a fairly straightforward first conversion of the afternoon.

George Baird should have put GHA back in front with a penalty attempt from in front of the sticks after Cole Imrie had been penalised at a scrum. Unflustered, the scrum-half soon redeemed himself with a drilled 50-22 which eventually led to another penalty attempt. This time, Baird did score.

Both teams were then culpable of further mistakes which led to plenty of intrigue for the crowd who had turned out in fairly decent number, but there wasn’t a huge amount of wow-factor until Accies produced a phase of possession which set winger Hamish Janes away for a simple walk-in try in the right corner.

After his excellent conversion from out on the right touchline had crossed the bar with seconds to spare in the opening period, Loomes had a chance to extend the lead from distance after Matthew Walker had clamped onto the ball to win a penalty, however he was unable to dissect the posts this time to leave it a one-score game as the sides hit the sheds.

 

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Individual mistakes in the opening 10 minutes of the second half would eventually prove to be decisive in the outcome, and unfortunately for the Braidholm faithful, both of them came from the men in green.

Firstly, Jack Bruce lost possession as he tried to blast his way out of his own 22, the ball popping out of his possession as he went to ground, allowing Neil Armstrong to send Janes away for his second easy score of the day, and then when Grant Mollison failed to deal with a grubber, Campbell and Kent combined to send teammate Walker under the sticks.

GHA’s scrumming against the head again turned profitable when they forced the error 10 metres from the Accies line, and although Bruce was unable to atone for his earlier error, GHA kept the pressure on and it was Mollison who touched down to keep the contest alive going into the final 10 minutes.

It soon became apparent that GHA weren’t going to win this game but with a losing bonus point still on the table, the dangerous outside centre Charlie Lonergan had a couple of bursts to keep Accies on their toes, or not, as the case proved to be when they were penalised for not rolling away.

Goudie went to touch and loose-head Erik Cavan charged over with the full 80 minutes up on the clock, but almost as soon as Goudie had struck his conversion he let out a roar of despair. The touch judges kept their flags down to signal that the hosts would finish the match empty-handed.

“We did say for the first 10 to 15 minutes we’d probably be a bit rusty, so it was all about composure and controlling the game.” said the disappointed GHA head coach, Trevor Carmichael. :I just think in the first half it was a bit flat, two teams going through the motions a wee bit just after New Year

“We played reasonably well in the first half without getting to the standard we wanted to and I think a few errors in that first half gave Edinburgh Accies field position from which they scored their points which was frustrating, then in the second half they’ve come out and got the scores and we’ve been chasing it.

“The intensity was a wee bit higher in the second half but there was just too many errors at certain points, our composure went and it’s frustrating that we didn’t at least get something out of it.”

 

Teams –

GHA: G Mollison; B Jouary, C Lonergan, M McFarlane, K Dixon; A Goudie, G Baird; E Cavan, A Falconer, M Fox, A Kerr, J McCarthy, D Ewing, W Graham, J Bruce. Subs: J Low, R Hay, S Plumridge, S Simpson, T Lonergan.

Edinburgh Accies: V Hart; H Janes, R Kent, N Armstrong, B Appleson; J Loomes, J Troup; C Imrie, C Black, C Lacour, C Bain, F Simpson, J Sole, M Walker, R Campbell. Subs: F Riddle, A Winnington-Ingram, S Hegarty, B Grainger, M Sinclair.

Referee: Ben Blain

 

Scorers –

GHA: Tries: Falconer, Mollison, Cavan; Cons: Goudie; Pen: Baird

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Kent, Janes 2, Walker; Cons: Loomes 4.

Scoring sequence (GHA first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-7; 8-7; 8-12; 8-14 (h-t) 8-19; 8-21; 8-26; 8-28; 13-28; 15-28; 20-28.

 

Man-of-the-Match: For scoring his side’s first try and being involved in most of the good attacking play that Accies produced, Robbie Kent claims the prize.

Talking Point: With Hawks succumbing to the dominant Currie, damaging their play-off hopes, and GHA still threatened with relegation despite a 12-point lead over Aberdeen Grammar, next week’s Glasgow derby has more riding on it than simply city bragging rights.


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About Iain Hay 74 Articles
New to the freelancing journalistic world as of August 2019, Iain has previously written for The Scottish Rugby Blog since 2017, covering matches for Glasgow Warriors, Scotland and opinion pieces. Can also often be heard on their podcast flapping his gums about the oval-ball (technically, it’s ellipsoidal) game and being pedantic. Is rumoured to believe that Finn Russell is The Messiah. Does the Twitter thing, but doesn’t like it.